Tag Archives: Single parent

Mother’s Day Lament

Mother’s Day Lament

There is little that compares to the emptiness I feel on Mother’s Day morning. My children remember me and bring coffee and love notes. Friends and family send kind words. And yet, it is one of the hardest days of the year because of what feels like it is missing: The expectation of what I thought motherhood would be.
I thought I would be a better mother, more organized, more nurturing, better at caring for the little darlings that I brought into the world. I thought I’d make more chore charts and handmade yarn mittens, I thought I’d coach more after school sports, or at least bring more orange slices. I thought I’d plan more Harry Potter themed birthday parties complete with talking sorting hats and brooms strung from the ceiling with fishing line. I thought I’d be tired less and self evolved less. I thought I’d kill fewer indoor plants, outdoor herbs and tropical fish. I thought I’d rescue more kites from trees and find more lost cats and shoes and important papers. I thought I’d do more, do it more smoothly and with less shouting. I’d kiss more and yell less.
I once believed it was my destiny to be a wife and mother. I’d be the best at both, a natural by virtue of the sheer quantity of good mothers and wives that I observed in fiction and reality alike. I saw and read about great mothers, doing mother things with ease and delight. But, I didn’t hear much about the loneliness of motherhood, the bone shaking doubt, the crippling fear of utter incompetence that accompanies caring for other human beings. The ache a mother feels at caring so deeply for her children. The feeling that I am simultaneously the most influential and the least competent person to tend to the needs of these tiny humans.
The list of hurts a mom is faced with managing is long. There are bees and nighttime terrors that coincide with an overwhelming need for sleep or just to be alone with my own thoughts. There are skinned knees and, worse, the pains that you can’t see, that you can’t measure because they are invisible and indeed so much more insidious. Heartbreaks, stomach aches, late night fears that keep you awake wondering if you’ve made a huge mistake. Sure I try my best, even in the tired moments, but it seldom feels adequate. And there are no real breaks.
There are good times, to be sure. They are frequently more plentiful than the trying times. There’s laughter and joy. And there are mundane, average Tuesdays where everyone just floats along, lunches get made in peace and dogs sleep quietly and dishes get put away without nagging. There are moments that reach in and grab your soul because you could just burst with pride and elation over the beautiful human being you contributed to creating and raising. Sometimes I feel as though my heart will break with delight because I see in my daughters a reflection of the parts of me that are decent and pure. And the special bond we get because of what we have been through together. The pains and triumphs that are ours alone to understand, glue us tightly together.
But the real kick you in the teeth pain bee sting in your ear slap in the face of Mother’s Day is that I thought it would be a partnership. This day is a reminder that I thought I was standing in one line, signing up for a specific class, agreeing to a particular arrangement, and I was not. Like so many women, in so many circumstances, we are left alone on the heavy end of the see saw. We stopped playing man to man defense, or even zone defense and realized the rest of the team had already left on the bus.
I admit, there is a village around my daughters and I. People who care for us in amazing and selfless ways, people without whom the ship would sink for sure. And that makes me more fortunate than some. It offers an advantage which I cannot fathom being without. Because even with help, it is the hardest challenge I have ever endured. Because in the deepest part of the night, when I am weary from the days and weeks, when one of my daughters comes to me with a broken heart and I reach deep down and try to find an answer that will satisfy her, will heal up her wound and at the same time allow me to go back to my own tumultuous mind. Because no one else can be there for that or can even really assure me that I’ve done the best I can. Because it is the loneliest job I will ever both love and doubt. For these reasons, I wish there was no yearly reminder that I am a mother.
It’s the loneliness that kills me. And the self doubt. It’s the quiet, though disgruntled, inner voice that suggests that the universe has made a terrible error in allowing me to be the sole caretaker for the minds, bodies and souls of these tremendous human beings. Most days, I feel like barely more than an adolescent myself. And the sheer irony that I’m managing all of this alone, is the cherry on top of a macabre sundae. Just because I planned on doing this as a team is not a way out.
As always, I’m thankful for the little things, the little victories, and the big support we get from our community. I’m thankful for inside jokes and love notes, and unsolicited thank yous. I thankful for an understanding partner who walks home in the early morning hours to make room for sleepy interlopers. I am thankful to friends who send lovely supportive words. But mostly, I am thankful that tomorrow there are 364 days until Mother’s Day.


2001: A Full Shining Lolita

2001:  A Full Shining Lolita

As I lounge, with my purple cast propped on a pillow, looking over the chaos that has erupted in my house in the last 24-48 hours, I realize what I normally do all day; Clear Cheerios off the counter, close boxes of crackers, throw away Puddin’ Pouches, put stray forks and spoons into the dishwasher, rinse dishes, feed the forgotten animals. My home looks like the scene in the movie after the girl has broken up with the guy and he holes himself up in his living room, surrounded by pizza boxes and empty whiskey bottles. Shades pulled, he reclusively resides amongst a sea of damp towels, waded up newspapers and filthy socks.
Breaking a body part, particularly one of the ones you use for propulsion, forces you to face the world from a particular point of view. One that is slower, lower and less capable than you were even the instant before you stepped ineptly on the uneven sidewalk in your impractical shoes. Even the most simplistic task becomes a chore of such gargantuan proportions that you spend significant time contemplating if it’s completion holds enough value to bother. Whatever is not near you suddenly feels launched into a universe that is too distant to comprehend; approximately the location of the horse head nebula. And walking up a flight of stairs has never before been appreciated for the sheer accomplishment that it is, nor has the defeat of realizing my toothbrush is three floors up ever been so poignant. Also, I don’t feel terrible about eating a handful of Bac’N Buds because they were left on the coffee table and therefore are in arm’s reach. And you should know, I’m not particularly good at accepting help. So I’ll just enjoy this new (albeit temporary) perspective on life.
A relatively minor injury, like breaking an ankle while,well, walking, isn’t such a big thing. It will be a delineation of a particular era; “oh that party happened right after I broke my ankle” , or ” oh! That’s right, I couldn’t drive then because of my ankle.” But mostly it only gives me these few moments to experience life from my sofa, or to gather perspective teetering atop a pair of crutches. But it’s important to remember it could be worse. There was no surgery, no metal pins, my toes are free, it’s only 2-3 weeks. I am a survivor and figuring out how to accomplish these mundane tasks is a challenge I’m willing to accept. Except showering, that’s just the dream of a crazy person.
There’s an interpretation of these recent events that practically writes a Stanley Kubrick flick. Particularly when you fold in the swarm of lethargic bees, which I’ll address a bit later, who have invaded my bedroom. This bedroom is tragically, on the third floor. Laid up from the simple act of walking, unable to drive single mom of three, her house infested with bees- slow bees-lays wrapped inside a single blanket on the cold porch, her wild eyes searching the landscape as her calf twitches inside her cast.
But I think there’s more humor to be found here than tragedy. For example, I’ve been using my bra as a carrying pouch. And I “butt-scootched” up the steps to the third floor, only to become so comically panicked that the house would catch on fire or that the slow-moving bees would leisurely surround my bed and form a bee beard on my face while I laid powerlessly on my back, that I had to make the disagreeable, protracted trek back down the stairs. And watching me try to maneuver this iPad out onto the porch was comic gold. Imagine a one armed sea otter learning to juggle for the first time. Mistakes were made. Comedy happened.
I’ve given up on my appearance almost entirely. I am very interested in purchasing those sweatpants that unbutton down the side. I think athletes wear them so they can rip them off in a moment’s notice to go jump in the game. I’d like the option of awkwardly tearing them off so I can pee. Earlier I did splash some water on my face as I stood wobbling over the bathroom sink. But even that feels inadequate, although difficult, enough to not even be worth it. My daughter brought me a warm dish towel to encourage me to at least rinse off, but as I slowly become more entrenched in the sofa, it just seems like an act with no meaning. Comically without meaning, of course.
And here is perhaps the most comic part of all, the person who is so graceful that she fell while walking, is now forced to encounter the world while precariously balancing on one foot. Her counterbalance a heavy, non weight bearing purple cast. Just try not to laugh when I have to pick up a sock off of the floor or when I try to suddenly change directions or when I tear off my athletic pants like a one-legged stripper during a Sunday matinee.
There is often comedy in tragic situations and it’s certainly better for my psyche to view it through this lens. Besides, I’ll have lots of time to write and catch up on some reading. Who doesn’t enjoy forced down time? Now you’ll have to pardon me, I’m planning to watch A Clockwork Orange, it’s just so relatable.

I don’t like wine spritzers

I don’t like wine spritzers

I’m a forty-something single mom living a life like no other forty-something woman I know, or have ever heard from, or seen in a movie. Not that the latter has given me very many realistic examples to choose from–please see Tyler Perry’s “Single Mom’s Club” for a plethora of one dimensional options. I’ve never quite fit in even when the Breakfast Club was the movie to emulate, though I came closest to a cross between Michael Anthony Hall and a more awkward Molly Ringwald.
I could share with you a laundry list of disparate hobbies (or more accurately the ways in which I periodically spend my free time) from directing an improv group, to clumsily exercising to hip hop, playing the djembe (not well), to selling junk (er, antiques) , watching nature and food documentaries, or devouring a Netflix series like it’s Baltimore street crack, writing this blog, or recording a vlog in my car with my dear friend Blair, reading books about feminists and racists systems of power or performing plays. Nothing too outlandish there. Though I have left out the sock puppet musical I’m co-writing and some of the things I might include were this an anonymous blog. But all in all these are generally activities that would most likely be found in various arrangements of other 40 something women.
Mostly you are aware of my bizarre (though not terribly unfamiliar) dating life. Not everyone had an actual amateur taxidermist, or cat trainer in their dating history, but we’ve all had our dating woes and frankly I can’t really access this part of my narrative in the same way now because I’ve met someone who matches my crazy heart with his own crazy heart and more or less finds me intriguing rather than a train wreck. Or at least he’s not terribly easily spooked.
There’s nothing particularly supernormal about any one aspect of my life. Though I’d like to imagine I’m in a unique position on the spectrum as a young widow with three teen/preteen daughters. But still, I’m not nearly the only one. So nothing individually is enough to make me an outlier.
Certainly from a surface assessment I’m about as common as cough due to cold; white, middle-class, employed, college graduate, cisgender, heterosexual…which makes me wonder even more why I always feel like the person filmed in slow motion during a teen movie. Not the girl who takes off her glasses and let’s down her ponytail and the cute, rich jock finally sees as dateable (which, side note, ew gross) But her friend that she stopped hanging out with after junior high because a rumor started to circulate that she’d eaten bugs on a class trip to the science museum. The girl who moved to school in the third grade, who once unconsciously leaned over to kiss her best girl friend goodbye, the same girl who thought her red knee socks and shorts were cool and made her look like Wonder Woman. The girl who blew up gasoline soaked army men with the neighborhood boys not so much because she wanted to (though confidentially it was pretty cool) but because she hoped that performing this perilous act would make them like her. Or when that same girl grew up and attended her first South Roanoke Doctors’ party and drank so many wine spritzers in order to ease her nerves in a place where she felt like a complete fraud, that she attempted to drive a bulldozer down the street. The woman who was picked last for the supper club who underestimated how much food feeds 12 people, so that the hostess had to thaw out meatloaf from her freezer. Oh- they talked about that woman later. The same woman who feels like she’s faking it most of the time, unless she’s writing her sock puppet musical or snorting because any one of her daughter’s said something hysterical.
Maybe we all feel out of place, with our crazy lists of things we love, both the things we will admit freely and the things we keep hidden or to ourselves. Maybe we all feel like frauds in our friend groups or like our own one person show that only homeless vets come to sleep through. We all fumble uncomfortably through the movie that is our life, feeling mis-cast in the role of “yourself”. We are all unique snowflakes, melting on the windshield of a world that would rather see us from a distance, as homogeneous globs of white.
Truthfully, None of us really fits in anyway. In the quiet of the night, the doctor’s wife watches Wife Swap instead of making enough paella for the dinner party, the once bespectacled teen grows older and leaves the jock for a 44 year old housewife, the jock longs to learn the djembe and drink white spritzers.
So, if you’re like me, and I know you’re not, it’s ok.

The opposite of everything

The opposite of everything

I’ve just returned from a week long vacation in Costa Rica with my three daughters and a family friend, who came along to provide additional adult support. I can’t really remember what it is like to travel as a traditional family (meaning two adults in a committed relationship and children). I’ve seen travel brochures, those people seem ridiculously happy, and I can’t help but fantasize about that brochure vacation…
Everyone’s smiling and eating mangos, our perfectly tanned, beautiful bodies are laying poolside as an equally happy waiter serves my charming husband and I fruity adult beverages. The children laugh and frolic in ocean waves, or slide down pristine slides. The weather is a delightful 80 degrees, even the birds seem happy just to fly through the air that we breathe. Later, the children urge my husband and I to take a walk on the beach as the sunsets. We dance and laugh in the waves. Everything is perfect. Absolutely perfect.
There are no meltdowns, no bee stings, no budget concerns, no tears, no moping, no sun-screened eyeballs, no fights over restaurants, no rationalizing the cost of a bottle of water, no bargaining for alone time, no messy bathrooms, or clogged toilets, or stomach viruses. There are no impoverished neighborhoods as you drive out of town, no stray dogs, no trash, no rainy days and no single parents.
There is certainly a gap between fantasy and reality, for all of us. Vacations (like holidays) hold a lot of pressure, because you are SUPPOSED to be having fun, frolicking, smiling and laughing. And you’ve invested a fair amount of money ( as well as taking time to plan and taking time away from work and household duties) to ENSURE that everyone is having a fun, PERFECT time. But life goes on whether you are at home or abroad. People get tired and grumpy and irritated. You can leave your home behind, but not your idiosyncrasies, your dysfunctions, your communication issues.
I’m fortunate. I can choose to go on vacation. I can afford to take all three of my daughters and we have a lot of choice in what we do. We can eat delicious food and see monkeys up close and I can send my daughter to zip line through the rain forest. And we make memories, some of them involve bee stings and sickness and crying and some of them involve the generosity of strangers and the kindness of siblings and the laughter we generate over sliding on a tile floor in my frictionless flip flops. These are our stories.
I doubt I will ever have the kind of vacation that brochures are made of, nor will most of us. But the opposite of everything, isn’t nothing. It’s something. Something that is beautiful in its imperfections, it’s struggles, it’s messiness. It’s something that whether I am in my own home or across the equator I get to keep. It is my beautiful, broken, dysfunctional family. I don’t love every minute, but I do love the whole thing.

Premature rejection

Premature rejection

There are several things that everyone should have to do, in my humble opinion, in order to grasp the reality of being human. First off, Everyone should have to wait tables, it demonstrates how incredibly needy and self-involved people can be when they have empty water glasses. C’mon how GD important is a lime really?
Second, everyone should experience intense, horrifying loss, this could be a job, a loved one, a house. The good (?) news is life provides this one for virtually everyone. It sounds like a terrible wish for humankind, but it’s essential for growth. There’s tons of other things, but I’ve got to get my kids to school today…so finally, I believe every person should have to date as an adult. Bonus points if you are a single parent. Want humility? Date. Want to learn to deal with rejection? Date. Want to try to nonchalantly remove fish taco sauce from your cleavage? Date.
When I was seventeen and I waited by the phone, there was just the phone to be silent. Now there’s phone, text, email, snapchat, Facebook, Twitter and the occasional my space, to be silent. Are there rules? Cause I can’t decipher them. I’m afraid of calling too soon and appearing to be a stalker, waiting too late and losing my (what I can only imagine is a laser thin) window of opportunity. Is the day long silence a direct result of that joke I made about Ebola? Or because I didn’t at least offer to pay? I can be cool, get busy with other activities. Wait. I could just awkwardly pretend to watch Friends reruns instead of checking my phone, iPad and computer every 15 seconds. I like to imagine, that despite my awkwardness I offer a certain charm and delight, but getting a second date seems harder than getting rednecks to understand the Affordable Heath Care Act.
Rejection can feel so final, like your last meal in prison. Eff this up and it’s the last time anyone ever compliments your sweater. I keep telling myself that this could be fun, relax, enjoy, but sometimes dating feels about as fun as a calculus test written in Latin.
Wanna “what if” with me? What if that WAS the last time anyone ever complimented my sweater? What if I just blew my one chance because there is tarter sauce on my boob? What if the guy I should actually be with is the guy I passed up? What if the only guy that will ever ask me out is the one wearing fake deer antlers in his match.com profile picture? What if awkward is the new cool? Huh. See what I did there?
I think rejection is nature’s way of saying, “next!”. I’ve had the great joy of having some really amazing relationships since Chris’ death, with really great (and equally awkward guys) and it wasn’t a struggle to keep up with them. It was actually pretty flawless, not in the sense that I never had kale stuck in my teeth, just in the sense that it was ok if I did.
Rejection sucks, and feels bad and makes you wonder where your next “meal” is coming from, but aren’t we better off if the mistakes just keep on moving out of our lives. If time has proven anything it’s that I am not getting any smoother in my maturity, so I had best stop looking for someone to make me cooler and instead look for someone to match my awkward.

Size matters

Size matters

Hey, I’m a single mom…did you know that, because I mention it in almost every post. Here’s the thing, being a single mom shapes everything I do. How I cook, how I plan my day, how I plan my life. Today, it is effecting how I think of size.
I’m a kick ass mom, if you want me to do something, just tell me I can’t, I shouldn’t or I’m not supposed to. I immediately must do that thing. Ive killed bees (even though I’m terrified of them) removed mice heads from the living room, removed a staple from my daughters finger and called someone to remove a dead possum. I’ve built fires and stayed up all night with sick kids. I’ve helped cats give birth and invited my husband’s girlfriend to his funeral. I spent a week in Amsterdam alone. I’ve driven my daughters clear across the country, while pregnant, I even tried to gamble with them in Los Vegas. You can’t gamble with children, it’s against the law. I do follow the law.
Today I did one of the most depressing single parent duties…taking down the Christmas tree on New Year’s Day. There’s the tedium of doing it, coupled with the sad reminder that the season of light is over. There’s the piercing of the dried out tree branches coupled with removing Chris’s ornaments. It’s difficult to unwrap five strands of lights from around a giant tree. We got a giant tree, giant.
Back in the first week of December, when taking the monstrosity down was the furthest thing from our minds, it was just the most beautiful tree in the lot. The girls jumped up and down and clapped with glee at the sight of Fred when the tree guy stood him up so we could admire his sheer size. This tree must have been ten and a half feet tall and as big around as Rush Limbaugh. It was indeed a lovely tree, so we had the flannel clad attendant tie it to our Honda pilot with some orange dental floss. Surely gravity and Christmas spirit would hold it onto the car for the three miles we needed to drive home. The girls were excited to get our giant tree in the house. “We will water it every day, let’s make a chart.” They said. We couldn’t even get the star on top it was so tall, so we just nestled the star in the branches near the top.
Four weeks later, as the giant branches had started to curl in on themselves from lack of water and time, it’s time to take the monster out of the house and get on with winter. Of course, no one is interested in helping take down the tree. And frankly it’s easier to do it alone than try to cajole. But it’s really sad. I don’t like that Christmas has passed once again and the long dark winter awaits now. But I took it down, of course and tucked all the ornaments away, wrapped up the 5 strands of lights, untangled the garland and packed away the angel figurines. So…now how to get it out the front door? When the tree arrived, it was soft and compressed within the net from the tree farm. Now it is brittle and not in a net. But I can do this. I don’t need any help. I’ll just tip it forward out the front door and yank it onto the porch. So, I tip it forward and immediately realize that someone had watered the tree at some point, because a giant puddle is now racing across my floor. I called the girls who, come (eventually) running down, they get towels. Then we push and pull the tree as though the house were giving birth to it, after several rounds of pushing and pulling the tree is out on the front porch. Of course there are branches everywhere and needles will still be in our socks in February, but it’s out of the house. So I drag it dutifully to the curb.
As I look at the giant tree, now laying on its side, I come to a conclusion. While I can do this, I don’t want to. I want help. I miss having an adult around who is in it with me. I am a kick ass mom, and I’ll continue to be one, but I accept that this is lonely work. And I accept that I don’t prefer it. I’ll do it, but reluctantly. And frankly, next year we will have to get a smaller tree, or help.

Hard habit to break.

Hard habit to break.

I absolutely have no time to write this post. I am actively avoiding doing what can only be described as a mountain of school work, but I’m distracted and hoping if I attend to the distraction I can then focus on the relationship between the social movements of indigenous women and the Christian Right.
Recently I have been consumed with the idea of “alone”. I’ve been a single mom for almost three years now, pushing from day to day with periodic (and much appreciated) help from friends, family and paid babysitters. I’m fortunate to have the resources I do. Very fortunate. Which is part of the reason I feel like I should be really able to be a single mom “alone”. I have great girls. Really great girls. They are smart and intuitive and frequently independent. Their needs are not extraordinary. Mainly they need love, attention and the occasional advice about clothing options. The issues we have are basically like any other family of four: you can’t eat half-baked doughnuts, dogs will roll in something that smells like death and when he gets out of the bathtub he will panic and break the toilet seat, when using surgical gloves filled with water as fake boobs be prepared that they may break, feeding the cats four days worth of food in one day results in cat vomit, if you forget your gymnastics outfit you may have to wear something too big or too small that was purchased at goodwill, you can’t do four hours of reading in thirty minutes, you’re never going to get ahead of the acorns falling off the tree, things do not put themselves away or clean themselves up, you know the noise you are making annoys your sister and she will push your face to make you stop, leftover hair dye expands in the bottle and will erupt into a gooey mess out of the trash can and onto the bathroom floor, if you put mail in various places bills will remain unpaid, shoes go in the shoe bin-not under the coach- the dog will find and destroy them, This all happened, last week.
Mostly, all of this is manageable. Mainly because between cat vomit and screaming arguments about salmonella their are moments of intense compassion. I am thankful everyday that I frequently use humor to cope and my daughters do too. There’s much to be thankful for, I can readily acknowledge that. So many families in so many places struggle with much tougher issues, poverty, lack of safety, domestic violence. My struggles are small in comparison, which is another reason I think I should be able to do this.
However, precisely because we do not worry about our safety, or food I get to focus on the emptiness of “alone”. I wish I had Someone to reflect with at the end of the day, To commiserate with, to laugh with, to cry with. I’ve heard that single parents and their kids are very close. We are, my fourteen year old is often my sounding board. She shouldn’t be, but she is sometimes. Because a lot of days there is no one else, and it’s like a volcano. I can tell her or I can curse in traffic ( most of the time I do both).
The reality is dating is hard when you are a grown-up with a job, school and three kids. There’s barely time to focus on me let alone to focus on nurturing a relationship with someone outside of the household. And I’ve pushed people away, people who could have helped, but it feels so complicated, and why can’t i do it alone? I’ve got money and great kids. I should be able to do this alone.
And yet…

Who’s a donkey now?!

Who’s a donkey now?!

When I was in the second grade my mom bought me the coolest shirt ever. It was around 1980 and I was eight and mostly didn’t care what I wore. But this day was different, this day I was gonna wear the pink cotton poets’ shirt with my burgundy pants and my tall brown boots. That shirt felt awesome on me, soft and girly with two ties that hung down from the opening at the neck and a zig zag stitch that gathered the bottom hem. I felt stylish in that shirt, and super cool. I imagined myself turning dramatically on the play ground like I was in the opening sequence for a TV drama, like Charlie’s Angels or Dallas. I chose one very sleek and sophisticated ponytail rather than the more childish two pony tails. In my vision I probably down played my buck teeth, oversized glasses and uber thin frame. I was Wonder Woman.
I attended 2nd grade in one of the most rural and socio-economically deprived counties in the state of South Carolina. It was just a pond skip beyond the 1970s which means culturally (read: racially) it was more like the 50s. I recall the time the Klan marched right by our school. I remember looking back as those ghost like figures topped a hill just beyond our school playground. Teachers rushed us inside. I was frightened, but I didn’t know why. No one talked about it, we just missed recess that day.
The school was built decades before I arrived on that sunny day clad in my coolest of cool attire. The students had long since outgrown the size of the original buildings and portable trailers had been added on top of the dusty red clay behind the school. Covered walkways served as outdoor hallways connecting various entrances to the brick building.
On this day, as I walked through the crowded walkway I heard a voice from the top of the stairs call my name. Believing that it must be an admirer I turned to see who desired my attention. It was a dirty, stringy haired blond girl who I didn’t know well, but I must have upset her in some 8 year old way that day. Perhaps I made her laugh and chocolate milk came out of her nose and embarrassed her. Whatever the reason, she called out at the top of her tiny dirty voice ” donkey!” To me, star of an unnamed tv drama!? So I did what any scrappy (and well dressed) 8 year old would do. I turned around and shouted back “donkey!” This went back and forth a few times until it occurred to me that I had continued to walk backwards while taunting her. So I turned quickly around in order to get back in my class’ line. Unfortunately it was at that very moment that one of the support beams for the covered walkway happened to be directly and unavoidably in my path. I crashed face first hard into that pole. Blood exploded from my nose and mouth.
My poor mother worked at the school and they quickly called her into the bathroom where I had been rushed. There I stood covered in blood, my mother gasped, not knowing where the blood stopped and my mangled face began. Blood dripped profusely down onto my favorite shirt.
I got to go home early and convalesce on my sofa, defeated in what felt like my finest hour. I iced my nose and fat lip for what remained of the day, probably fortunate that nothing was broken or required stitching. The last time I saw the coolest shirt ever it was floating in a plastic tub full of cloudy water. The bloodstains never came out. It was a sharp reminder that I would be many things throughout my life but cool was probably never going to be one of them.



Have you ever read the Buddhist tale about the man whose son breaks his leg while riding his horse and everyone says “what bad luck.” And then because of his broken leg he is not able to enlist in the army and go off to war where he would potentially die. People say, ” what good luck” and then his father has to go in his place and so on. There is no good luck or bad luck, only luck says the moral of the story.  This week has been all kinds of what seems like bad luck has been good and what seemed good turned out to be both good and bad.

Perspective is the name of the game.

I am renovating my kitchen which is all good, except for the inconvenience, the cost and oh, the giant section of rotten wood under my wood floor. Still better to find out this way than creating a me shaped hole in the floor at some point. renovations always take longer and cost more than you anticipate in the beginning.  That is true for kitchens as well as for people.

I’m still in repair as I cast my gaze towards the two year anniversary, there is still work to be done and it feels like healing takes forever.  But taking all the steps is still really important. I don’t want to cover over my rotten feelings only for someone else to find them later.  Surprise there is a giant hole here.  Careful you don’t fall in.

if I had three wishes it would be for a  faster, more predictable healing schedule, that I had not had to March out of three different rooms to get the quiet space to type this post and for thinner thighs and abs.  If I had four wishes I’d wish for world peace.

Sleepovers are evil



Sleepovers are evil.  They appear, at first as a delightful engagement and they end in emotional turmoil.  At the first mention of a sleepover I am reminded of the lovely distraction having a friend sleep over provides and the pleasing giggle of girls as they create a game that involves balancing a bag of ice on their head for 21 seconds.  The night is easier, the girls want time on their own to create and laugh and eat melted chocolate. So what if they stayed awake until midnight, when my daughter came upstairs hiding a smile as she tired to reveal her fake black eye. They were having  fun. The following morning is beautiful as they wake to the joy of their friend.  They make their own breakfast and play games, even offering to make coffee for me. Everyone seems immersed in a sea of friendship glee. Then the afternoon hits. The body is reminded of the sleep deprivation. A mother is never, ever to suggest a child might be tired. Tired is never the registered answer. I’m reminded that “sleepover” is a misnomer. They are stay overs. These are young children and lack of sleep creates evil. The slightest misstep creates angry outbursts. Remember the sister you laughed with when she had the bag of ice on her head? She’s gone and she’s been replaced with Cinderella’s step monster. Every noise becomes nails on a chalkboard. By 5pm there are tears, sobs and declarations that we will never again go to or have a sleepover ever again. But sleepovers are evil and they sulk away just long enough for you to forget the aftermath. Mind you, they will be back.